Eric Phamdo, a junior majoring in psychology with a minor in biology at the University of Rochester, has been awarded the Semester at Sea Diversity Abroad Scholarship. Phamdo is the second Rochester student to receive this scholarship and is one of only five students chosen from a national pool of applicants. Phamdo will spend the spring 2010 semester enrolled in the Semester at Sea program studying in 8 countries, including Ghana, Brazil, and South Africa. The Diversity Abroad Scholarship will help Phamdo offset approximately 50 percent of the program's cost.
For Phamdo, a native of Lake Oswego, O.R., the scholarship allows him to participate in a program where he can visit diverse cultures. In his scholarship essay, Phamdo likens the diversity among his study abroad peers to "telescopes on a ship's deck – with everyone looking out on the destinations through their own unique lens" and he describes the excitement he'll feel when hearing about those different perspectives.
The Semester at Sea program is not Phamdo's first experience abroad, however. During the summer of 2009, he spent three months studying environmental science and Spanish in Quito, Ecuador through the Institute for the International Education of Students (IES) program. Phamdo also recently won one first place in the IES Alumni Photo Contest in the "student experience" category.
In addition to his studies abroad, Phamdo is an active member of the University's junior class. He serves as the president for the Student Association of Vegan and Vegetarian Youth, is the social chair of the Pride Network, and an executive member of the AIDS Peer Advocacy Group.About Semester at Sea
The IES program is one of the nation's oldest and largest study abroad providers. IES Abroad is a growing Chicago-based, not-for-profit organization that enrolls more than 5,000 students annually, with more than 90 programs in 32 cities. The Photo Essay contest is open to alumni of the IES program.